Two Reuters journalists who were arrested and detained for over 200 days whilst investigating ongoing massacres of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar have been sentenced to seven years in prison.
In a landmark case that has evoked international condemnation, the Myanmar judge said his verdict is based on documents found on mobile phones of the reporters, that “can be useful to enemies of the country or the ones who oppose the country”.
US ambassador Scot Marciel, who attended the hearing said,
“one has to ask will this process increase or decrease the confidence the people of Myanmar have in their justice system”.
Condemning the verdict, Reuters president and editor-in-chief, Stephen J Adler, said,
“without any evidence of wrongdoing and in the face of compelling evidence of a police setup, today’s ruling condemns them to continued loss of their freedom and condones the misconduct of security forces”.
The reporters were arrested on December 12th last year whilst investigating the massacre of 10 Rohingya villagers in the Rakhine state, reportedly by members of the military and Buddhist civilians.
Myanmar has faced considerable international scrutiny, with a recent United Nations report calling for senior figures of Myanmar’s military to face trial for genocide committed against the Rohingya population.